After the controversial scenario when Colin Kaepernick refused to arise during the national anthem, on Monday, coach Bill Belichick avoided reporters’ questions about his opinion by saying he does not want a discussion regarding any political ideology or commentary. However, the QB’s actions are gradually becoming a national issue and nearly all NFL coaches have been willing to comment on it. When asked for comment on Saturday, San Francisco 49ers coach, Chip Kelly, said the QB has the right to express himself in any way he feels comfortable. Additionally, as NFL Sportsbook betting would suggest, the coach has no right to force him to act in a specific way because he is an American citizen just like others.
The Giants coach, Ben McAdoo, contrasted Kelly’s sentiments, saying he would feel disappointed to see his players refusing to stand in respect for the national anthem because it is the simplest gesture to the military personnel who surrendered their lives for the nation. Dirk Koetter of the Buccaneers also made similar remarks as McAdoo’s and added that Americans have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, which all individuals can choose to use as desired.
Many head coaches, including the Washington Redskins coach, Jay Gruden, suggested that clubs bear the responsibility of enacting policies of ensuring players respect the national anthem. The Bills coach, Rex Ryan, added that the national anthem is an opportunity for everyone to show their respect and patriotism, which all players in his team embrace as a way of showing gratitude. He also said that the military who served the country deserve their respect because even though players could have their personal beliefs, they should remember the gifts and opportunity they have to play a wonderful game.
According to the Oakland Raiders coach, Jack Del Rio, the club does not compromise on paying respect to the flag irrespective of any individual decisions. He added that freedom is one of the pillars of American greatness, and even though some may not appreciate other people’s opinions, one should recognize such ideals to represent their organization fully. Del Rio retweeted an American flag post having the word “Respect” made by a Raider’s player to express his personal sentiments. While in training camp, the Rams’ Jeff Fisher advised his players saying standing for the flag is a self-respect gesture, which trickles down to their teammates, the game, the country and a chance to appreciate their luck regarding to their careers.
On Monday, the Rams Coach, Jeff Fisher, claimed that he does not see any player in his team emulating Kaepernick because their reverence for the national anthem is well-documented. He has served as the Rams coach for the last four seasons. He added that he is not criticizing ‘Kap’ because he had the right to act that way, but their longstanding organizational beliefs demand that all players have to respect the flag.
Some NFL head coaches established that their players must stand on their feet for the national anthem, but some clarified that they would respect any contrary action or the freedom to choose certain actions. Cardinals’ Bruce Arians told ABC 15 that, as an American, he respects Kaepernick’s rights because of freedom of speech, but differs with his decision because it demoralizes those who fought defending the flag. The Ravens’ John Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun that Colin had the right to display his anger the way he did, but he usually advises his players to think about such actions if they want to make them public because immediately it lands out there, all attention will shift to the culprit.
The Panthers’ Ron Rivera told the Charlotte Observer that he personally respects the national anthem because his grandparents served the country; therefore, all players in the team must always be standing at attention during the national anthem. Since America is also driven by freedoms, every citizen has the right to act in a way that supports those who fought for the nation. The Broncos’ Gary Kubiak also told Troy Renck that the club does not babysit players, but they must all stand for the flag.
Through MLive, the Lions’ Jim Caldwell said that their organization does not condone similar actions as Kaepernick’s, but they also won’t force anyone to stand or sit during the national anthem. Caldwell added that since Kaepernick did not break any law, he does not agree with his actions, but it is acceptable if it helped him express his frustrations in line with the many freedoms in America.
Through ESPN, the Packers’ Mike McCarthy said that before all their first preseason games, their organization usually discusses the way players should act during the national anthem. However, when social issues arise, everyone has the right to stand up for what they believe in personally. Eventually, this not only turns into what they stand up for, but also when. The Cowboys’ Jason Garrett told the Dallas Morning News that it is important to handle the national anthem rightfully because it remain a great song and tradition, which can draw out emotions. It becomes a special moment for everyone when thinking about the fallen heroes who fought for America to allow the present generation to raise that flag proudly.
Through the Houston Chronicles, the Texans Bill O'Brien refused to comment further for any other team and simply said that all their players are encouraged to stand for the flag in honor of the nation.
The Dolphins Adam Gase echoed his sentiments through the Palm Beach Post that he reflects the league’s opinion that every NFL player has their own position on specific matters, which they can express as they wish. However, NY Jets coach, Todd Bowles, told Newsday that he supports Kaepernick because he has the right to express himself because everyone handles things differently with the aim of trying to get things done. The Eagles’ Doug Pederson simply expressed that they respect people’s freedoms, including the national anthem and its history. Similarly, Sean Payton, the Saints coach, simply wrote on NOLA.com that their organization has many important things to focus on rather than Kaepernick’s ideologies and actions.
Kaepernick’s controversial actions have occurred when his football career has begun to nosedive since 2013. The 28-year-old QB led the 49ers to win three consecutive NFC championship games as well as appearing in the Super Bowl. However, has suffered a series of injuries and become ineffective for his club, which might not only make him lose his starting role in San Francisco, but also part ways with the team.